‘Heart with those that are hurting,’ says Governor Lee


NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WJHL) — Tennessee Governor Bill Lee says “his heart is with those that are hurting” in the aftermath of George Floyd’s death while in Minneapolis police custody.

He made the comments today as he outlined state help for small businesses that have been shut down because of COVID-19 precautions.

“My heart is with those who are hurting and with those who are bravely, and peacefully speaking out against injustices that still exist in this country,” said Gov. Lee shortly into prepared remarks at a Nashville mom-and-pop restaurant.

He specifically addressed the initial peaceful Floyd protests like the one in Nashville on Saturday before warning about the violence later than included vandalism and fires at the Nashville historic courthouse and downtown looting.

“But some have hijacked peaceful protests to their own ends and to them we will not tolerate violence against our people or our property in Tennessee.” added the governor.

The background for the comments focused on small businesses was Arnold’s Restaurant on the edge of downtown Nashville.

“We are a lunch-only business and a lot of people are working from home right now,” said co-owner Khalil Arnold. “Downtown is not the happening place right now so we are struggling like a lot of businesses in this current situation.”

28,000 small businesses like Arnold’s are expected to share in $200 million in grants that come from the federal CARES act, but Khalil Arnold has a message that goes beyond government help.

“Take care of local people, I guess now more than ever,” said Arnold. “Small businesses like us really need your help and it means a lot.”

It’s not certain when businesses like Arnold’s will get those governments grants, but the Lee Administration said the grants will be based on gross sales for individual businesses.  

A member of Lee’s administration estimates the small business grants could range from $2,500 to $30,000 depending on the size of the business.

A news release from the Lee administration calls the help the Tennessee Business Relief Program.

It will be administered by the Tennessee Department of Revenue which will have further details “in the coming days” online.

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